Simple Art for Non-artists

My need to create art is overshadowed only by my complete lack of artistic ability. Almost daily I’ll see something on Pinterest or on Facebook that makes me think, “hmmm, I can do that,” only to discover that no, I can’t. But that seldom keeps me from trying, and subsequently failing again.

One day last week I found this video on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/artfidodotcom/videos/1737457416309371/

It looked foolproof, so I gathered a sketchbook, some paints, and a bit of embroidery floss. Guess what? Not only is it foolproof, it’s great fun.

My first attempt. I love that I get two prints in one go.

I tried two colors on my second piece. I’m calling this one “Angry Parrots.”

And three colors on my third. The black just looks muddy, though.

Here’s my favorite:

This will be fun to do with visiting grandkids. I used washable paints, and all my work surfaces survived unscathed. Yay, me!

I won’t be opening a gallery any time soon, but I am going to keep experimenting.

Peace, people!

A Week of Loss

Earlier this week my mother-in-law, Saint Helen, called to let us know that her beloved brother-in-law, our Uncle Junior, had passed away. Junior was one of the best men I ever met. He always had a smile and a story to tell. Every Sunday he’d call Saint Helen and they’d share their week’s adventures. Even in his last years Junior would be out on his large property in Oklahoma tending to chores that would be daunting to much younger men. He was quite a man.

I also lost a friend I met in a Facebook group of political progressives, and while we never met face to face, Thom’s death hit me hard. He was a retired Methodist minister who lived a life of service to others. His heart was huge and his sense of humor kept us all on our toes. He shared his beautifully written prayers with us along with his calming and deep wisdom. Even in his last days he was posting puns on Facebook to cheer us up. The world has lost a great man.

Then just this morning I learned that a friend from my hometown was hit by a car and killed. I hadn’t seen Roy in years, but he was like a big brother to me when I was in high school. He had a big personality and an even bigger heart. I’m so sad for his family and for all who knew him. Another good guy gone.

Life is short. Hug your loved ones, cherish your friends.

Peace, people.

My Twitter Issue

Like many of the bloggers on WordPress I automatically share my posts on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. 98% of the time it’s a smooth process and my posts magically appear in the Twitterverse, but occasionally there’s a glitch requiring a reset. It’s usually a quick fix and the mundane aspects of my life are once again available for folks to like, comment on, or best of all, retweet.

This past week while I was battling diverticulitis I noticed that Twitter wanted me to change my password. Apparently they’d had an issue with an entity gaining access to their passwords. Well, I’m not the most tech savvy person in the world, and I couldn’t quite figure out how to change the password, so I thought I’d log out and log back in. Seemed simple enough.

Except that Twitter wouldn’t allow me to merely sign back in, forcing me to create a new account. And now, I can’t get WordPress to let go of the old Twitter account so that I can share my posts on the new account. I mean I realize there are bigger issues at hand in the world right now, but this is annoying. I must be feeling better if I have the energy to be bugged by this.

If any friends have suggestions I’m game, just remember to type really slowly so I can understand.

Peace, people.

Back to Studly

Today we hope Studly Doright gets some relief from his agonizing sciatic pain. It’s been 24 days now since he’s gotten more than 30 minutes of sleep at a time.

Studly is a man’s man, but when he’s in pain, all bets are off. After both of his knee replacement surgeries I was ready to trade him in for a less abrasive model. It didn’t help that he had a persecution complex and severe paranoia brought on by the pain meds he was on. He accused me of posting his post-surgical photos on Facebook! I promise, I never even considered doing such a thing. Well, it might’ve crossed my mind, but I wouldn’t have done it without his permission. They were seriously grotesque.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised that he’s kept his sense of humor and his sunny disposition throughout this whole sciatica ordeal. He hasn’t taken a day off work even when I thought he should have, and he’s cracked a few jokes during even his worst moments. Some of the jokes might have been amusing, so I laughed just in case.

But today, we see a pain management specialist. Hoping our prayers will be answered because, all kidding aside, I hate seeing my Studly Doright in pain. He’s my rock, you know. Positive vibes appreciated.

Peace, people.

Support Oklahoma Teachers

https://www.facebook.com/Beth.wallis.okstate/posts/10212329770266234

Teachers all over the U.S. are taking a stand for their profession. Just this week teachers in West Virginia successfully held out for a 5% wage increase, and Oklahoma teachers are poised to follow their example.

I’ve attached a link from Beth Wallis, an educator in Oklahoma who has written one of the best pieces I’ve read explaining the necessity of teachers advocating strongly for higher wages, for the good of their students, teachers, and the very communities in which they live.

I taught. Every word Ms. Wallis writes rings so true it makes my heart ache. I’m rooting for her and for her fellow educators. I hope you will, too.

Images from Pinterest:

https://fourthgenerationteacher.blogspot.com/2018/03/stop-equating-teachers-with-martyrs.html?m=1

Beware the Green Rug, or Be Careful What You Ask For

On the first day of posting about taking part in the Minimalist Challenge I included a photo of the one item I’d be purging on that day:

This green bath mat needed a new home, and I had planned to take it to Goodwill. Then a Facebook friend commented, “John, we need this.”

I told her to send me her address on Messenger, and I’d send it to her. As soon as I had the address I put the rug in a box, taped it all up, and sent it off to Texas.

On Wednesday morning I received this message in Messenger. I’m still laughing.

Leslie – the box came today. Thank you. And now a hilarious confession. When I commented on your rug post, I said “John , we need this” ( tagging my husband) Which caused you to offer to send it and so on. What I really meant was “John, we need to do this challenge”. I literally thought you were sending me some kind of booklet or instructions for the challenge. Until I opened the box. I literally laughed until tears were streaming down my face. I never once thought you thought I wanted the rug. Until I opened the box! I am sorry for your trouble to get it to me! I definitely owe you one. And now I have the first item for MY 30 day challenge. I hope you find this as funny as I do! 🤣😂🤪

Honestly I had been curious as to why she NEEDED this particular bath rug, but I don’t really know her other than through Facebook, and who was I to deny her something she needed? Maybe this bath rug looked like one her grandmother had owned or maybe she couldn’t find this shade of green at her local Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Mine was not to question why, mine was just to send a bath rug.

Oh man. Life is good.

Peace, people!

–Leslie

Minimalist Challenge

I joined a minimalist challenge group on Facebook. Our goal is to declutter our lives by getting rid of a specific number of items every day in February. On day one, we have to get rid of one item, on day two, two items, and so on. By the end of February each participant will have discarded a total of 424 items. I think. I might’ve forgotten to carry a two in one or more of my calculations. I know there’s a formula that might’ve made the process simpler, but my algebra days are far behind me.

Participants can send items to the trash bin, donate them, or give them to friends as gifts. Additionally, no items that are merely “wants” can be purchased during the month unless an additional four items per want are discarded. There are other rules, but these are the main ones.

Frankly, I’m not sure I have what it takes to complete this challenge. I can see that the first 10 to 15 days will be fairly easy. Just sitting in my recliner next to an end table stacked with papers, magazines, and coupons I can see at least two dozen items that need new homes. I guess if I get stumped for items to dispose of I can send Studly off to live with the gypsies.

Wish me luck. You may all be sick of this before the month is over. I’ll try not to be too obnoxious. Who am I kidding? Obnoxious is my middle name.

Peace, people!

Item #1: a green bath rug is headed to a nearby charity-run thrift store.

Clone?

One of the upsides to the social media site, Facebook, is the way it reminds of us photos and events we might have otherwise forgotten. This morning the following photo popped up in my Facebook memories:

That’s Studly and me with two of our grandchildren, Garrett and McKayla, from nine years ago. At first glance I thought the woman pictured was my mom. Then it dawned on me, that my mother died before ever meeting any of her great grandchildren.

Here’s a photo of Mom with our daughter, Ashley, who is the mother of the children pictured above. I think maybe Ashley was four in this photo.

Again, here’s the photo of me:

Holy cow. People have told me how much I look like mom, but until now I don’t think I fully realized it. Cloning. It’s real and apparently has been since the 1950’s.

Peace, people. (Miss you Mommy)

The World in Black and White

A childhood friend challenged me to post seven black and white photos, one each day for seven days on Facebook. The photos could contain no images of people, and I wasn’t allowed to comment on the subject matter. Do you know how difficult it was for me to forgo an explanation of the pictures? Excruciating, that’s what it was.

Fortunately I have this blog and no restrictions as far as I can tell. Of this one thing, I am the boss.

The one below was taken in Chicago from the backseat of a car during an Uber ride. I’m amazed that I didn’t have to crop any humans out of the picture.

The next photo is of a portion of the ceiling at the Cadillac Palace Theatre where my daughter and one of my granddaughters, and I saw Les Misérables.

The anchor below was found on Amelia Island in Florida. I paused to snap the photo as Studly Doright urged me to run for our car while a storm headed our way. With one step to go I got drenched! But the shot was worth it.

Next up is a moody picture of the Florida capitol building. If you’re ever in Tallahassee it’s well worth visiting.

The Atlantic Ocean near our Amelia Island Hotel posed for my next shot. Loved these clouds.

Another photo taken on Amelia Island showcases the swamp we kayaked through on a recent visit. That house in the background looks a bit haunted shown in black and white.

Finally, one last photo from Amelia Island. This one is self-explanatory. I love the sepia look of this one.

I feel much better now, having given these shots some context. Maybe I’ll sleep tonight.

Peace, people!

Exercises in Deep Breathing

A couple of days ago I shared a meme on Facebook that caused tempers to flare. I first included it in this post, but honestly, I feel like I’ve been through the ringer. ¡No más! So, I deleted it before publishing.

Basically the meme was a take on the whole “weather catastrophes are the fault of….(insert gays/feminists/atheists/Muslims, etc.).” only this one jokingly put the blame for Hurricane Harvey on Trump, and then asked, “see how ridiculous that sounds.”

Obviously I was trying to make a point about how ridiculous some of the wacky religious and/or political pundits sound when they blame catastrophic events on homosexuality or feminism or any number of unrelated events, so the amount of vitriol the post attracted was rather stunning. Clearly it was satire.

Was I not aware of the suffering people in coastal Texas and surrounding areas were experiencing? Well, yes, I am aware and have posted numerous links to responsible agencies who are accepting donations for victims of Hurricane Harvey, and I’ve donated to more than a few such organizations myself. If I thought I could be an asset instead of an aggravation I’d be volunteering there right now. The good folks of Houston and beyond are going to need help for many months to come, and I’ll help in whatever ways I can.

Have I no sense of shame? Certainly I do when shame is warranted. This isn’t one of those times.

What has happened to me? Apparently I used to be a good person, but I’m not anymore. Huh. I’ve always tried to do the right thing. I haven’t always been successful, but I look out for others and treat people kindly.

The meme is in poor taste! I don’t believe it is; however, cutting a proposed one billion dollars of funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s budget in order to finance a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is certainly crossing a line that far exceeds the realm of good taste, and I don’t see any of the folks who lambasted me over my meme having a meltdown over that.

Several folks lectured me on my morality and ethics. Oddly enough none of them would be my first choice were I to go in search of a teacher on those issues.

A thoughtful friend sent this to me after reading the battering posts. I take great comfort in good friends.

I continue to pray for all those affected by Harvey. Yes, I do. Even those who think I’m a bad person.

If you want to support a great organization that’s helping out folks who’ve lost everything to this devastating storm here are more verified links:

https://www.youcaring.com/victimsofhurricaneharvey-915053

Umcor.org

Peace, people.